Making a List of Camping Essentials

by GuestPoster on September 9, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, my in-laws invited my husband and me to go camping with them. My husband and I had never been camping before as a couple, so we agreed to go. Before we left, I created a checklist in my mind of all the camping essentials I could think of. My husband added a few things to the list, but assured me that whatever camping essentials we had forgotten would be readily supplied by his parents who take camping excursions several times a year. While we remembered nearly everything, it was a good thing his parents were there as there were a couple of things that we did forget. The first thing that is absolutely essential to any camping trip is a lighter or some sort of fire starter.

There are numerous reasons why you need a fire when you are camping: to ward off wild animals, keep you warm, to cook food and to provide a certain amount of light. We used our fire for all of the things mentioned above, but fortunately, my father-in-law had started the fire long before we got to the campsite. In any case, make sure that you have matches, kindling and some wood logs that you can use to keep the fire going once it is lit. Most of the kindling and logs you can find onsite, but unless you want to light your fire by rubbing two sticks together, I would recommend buying some matches or a lighter.

The next thing that you need is a sleeping bag or a set of blankets to keep you warm. I don’t care how hot it is outside, when the sun sets, your heat source is gone. It is going to get very cold at night, whether you are in a dry or humid climate, trust me. You can sit around the fire all night, but sleeping next to an open flame is definitely not recommended, for several reasons. Packing a sleeping bag is the best idea. We were fortunate enough to have a double sleeping bag that my in-laws gave us for Christmas. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, add it to your list of camping essentials and go buy one. Though it is not absolutely necessary, it is also highly recommended to add a tent to your list of camping essentials.

A tent is going to keep you protected from the elements, like rain, snow and wind. Believe me, it is not a lot of fun waking up in the middle of the night because you are soaking wet. A tent can prevent that from happening. A tent is also going to prevent you from encountering a myriad of insects while you are dozing. Mosquitoes, to some extent can’t be stopped; however, you can cut down on the number of bites that you get by sleeping in a tent with the door shut. There are a plethora of other things I would suggest as camping essentials, including a flashlight, an air mattress, warm clothing and most importantly, food. It is good to bring food that leaves little waste (think fruits and veggies and not a package of Oreos), and which is contained in a cooler of some sort. It is also vital to have some sort of way to get rid of your own personal waste, if you catch my drift.

Using a bucket with a plastic bag and some kitty litter works well, from what I’ve been told. This will only be necessary, however, if you are at a campsite without flushing toilets or a latrine. Unfortunately, my husband and I just had to make do without an air mattress to protect us from the hard ground. His parents didn’t have an extra, but we survived with just our extra blankets underneath us. However, we did use his parent’s flashlight and I’m glad that they thought to bring a coat; I would have spent the night shivering without it. My husband and I have added several things to the list of camping essentials that we would like to buy. After all, I would really like to make this a tradition and not a one-time only event.

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